Friends, I’m old enough to remember the Willie Horton ad. I’m old enough to remember when the Central Park Jogger –who was around my age, a jogger like me, white like me, educated like me– was raped and left for dead. I remember being terrified at the idea of “wilding” youths –who, somehow, were always black– out to get girls like me. And I remember three months ago, when I was stunned at the outcome of this election and none of my friends who aren’t white were.
I grew up in rural, northern, mostly blue collar, white America. I didn’t think much about just how unequally people who didn’t look like me were treated –I didn’t watch much television and I physically didn’t see it in my daily life– and I sure didn’t understand it on a visceral level. My ignorance about race changed fundamentally in my twenties, when I began living in cities, and I’ve spent my adult life playing catch-up. The documentary film “13th” places pattern to the past and present in a brilliant and succinct way. It’s one of the most powerful films I’ve ever seen. Watch it.